Auckland: Janken

Discovering new (well, to us) Japanese restaurants is always a bonus and my dining companions and I were rather surprised that it took us this long to find out about Janken! Nested amongst the quiet shops on Jervois Road towards Herne Bay, Janken (Japanese term for the ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors Game’) has been open since 2013!

Occupying a small store space with a few small tables scattered with a larger wooden communal table, we were glad that we made a booking the day before because the eatery quickly filled up and even overflowed outside in the chilly weather. Unlike many Auckland’s traditional Japanese restaurants, Janken is decorated with a simplistic and industrial look with hanging lightbulbs, white tiles, wooden tables and concrete flooring.

What we ordered:

Steamed Buns with Pork Belly | This steamed pork bun resembles more like the popular bao that are doing the rounds in the Auckland dining scene and boy was it delicious! Slices of succulent pork belly from free range pigs combined with shredded carrots, lettuce and a spicy wasabi paste and served between two fluffy steamed white buns. Perfection! We also ordered the organic tofu version (not pictured) for my vegetarian friend and they were also stunning.

Soba Noodle Salad | Made with cooled buckwheat soba noodles, green salad, avocado, tomato and crispy tofu, this salad was dressed with a soy based dressing.

Carrot Dressing Salad | Green salad, beetroot, carrots, pine nuts and organic quinoa with their own original carrot dressing.

Sashimi Selection | A good selection of fresh fish sashimi including tuna, salmon and king fish.

Creamy Seafood Nabe | Presented in a traditional cast iron pot, the hot-pot came with pieces of salmon, scallops, tofu and prawns in a creamy soy broth and a side of udon noodles. Our constant talking during dinner meant that we had to ask for the burner refill twice but the staff were happy to assist and changed it for us with no issues.

Not knowing what to expect with Janken, we were all pleasantly surprised at the quality and freshness of each dish. Combined with the chirpy and helpful wait staff, we enjoyed our lovely Japanese meal.

Janken | 158 Jervois Road, Herne Bay

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